Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 14, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Lindsay Grant is currently touring manufacturing plants in St. Kitts in an effort to ensure that his ministry provides as much assistance as possible to the large manufacturing sector.
Director of Industry and Commerce Phillip Brown stated that the plants are major players in this sector and these visits are a perfect opportunity for the minister to hear the concerns in order to provide the requisite help.
In doing so, his ministry has recently launched a manufacturing strategy which is a document intended to provide the appropriate environment and infrastructure for the sector.
Also of great importance to the large sector is the Partial Scope Agreement which will allow manufacturers to export into Brazil. This will create new markets for products manufactured locally. According to Mr. Brown, the government is in the process of implementation.
Minister Grant reiterated the importance of the agreement.
“We’ve been pressing on it because we believe it gives a lot of scope and opportunity to manufacturers and we have committed to ensuring that we do all in our power to get it resolved before the end of the year,” Minister Grant stated. “Concessions and other matters relating to that have been very important to the manufacturing sector and we continue to support them in that regard because without them the economy in St. Kitts would not be as buoyant as it is.”
Minister Grant added that the government recognises the great contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy noting that “it creates 10 percent of GDP and… for us that is significant.”
Not forgetting the smaller manufacturers, the ministry has indicated that there are a number of areas where it can provide assistance to small businesses, as outlined in the Small Business Development Act of 2009. It includes government assistance with technical help, aid in developing business plans, assisting in the navigation of the duty free process and training for staff and managers.
To date, Minister Grant has visited Kajola Kristada, Jaro Ellectronics, Demerara Distilleries, Electrofab, Harowe Servo Control and Island Purified Water.